[loud noises!]

Warning: Strong language. But it’s warranted. Because I’m mad.

__________________________

I will serve unselfishly and continuously

in order to help make a better world for all mankind.

~From the EMT Oath ~

City paramedic Josie Dimon, who was fired in the wake of Snowmageddon 2010 after it was revealed she refused aid to a dying man and expected the man to walk to her to receive aid instead of her walking to him, was reinstated to her job and awarded back-pay by an “arbitrator.”

In this case “arbitrator” clearly means “batshit crazy person who is neither neutral nor sane. Couldn’t be further from Switzerland if he or she was on Alderaan.”

Seriously, let’s think about this. Really. Think about this.

A paramedic refuses aid.  Says, “He ain’t fucking comin’ down, and I ain’t waitin’ all day for him. I mean, what the fuck, this ain’t no cab service. Is he on his way? Because we are not going to wait all day for him.”

And she leaves because the sick man won’t walk to her in the snow. The man dies.

THAT person has been awarded her job back and all her money save for a three-day suspension that the “batshit crazy person who is neither neutral nor sane” has determined was “warranted.”

Excuse me while I decide whether I want to fall down laughing or sobbing.

Paramedic refuses aid. Paramedic. Refuses aid.

Ms. Dimon not only didn’t perform her job, she did the OPPOSITE of her job. She walked away from a man that needed help and she did it all eff this and eff that and this ain’t no cab service and eff you. Man dies. Three-day suspension is all she’s getting because her union has her back.

Oh, to have that kind of job security — the kind of job security that some unions have managed to create. The kind that allows a person to say to themselves, “Not only do I not have to do my job very well, but I can suck so bad at my job that a man can die and I will be handsomely rewarded with reinstatement and back-pay.”

No job outside of a union has this kind of security. If you’re an IT person and you go to accounting to fix a computer and you get there and you decide to infect it with a virus, which is the OPPOSITE of the job you’re supposed to be doing, you would be fired and there is no way on God’s blue and green earth outside of dirty pictures of your boss that you’re getting your job back.

The laws of the universe should operate thusly: If you say “fuck this” and refuse to do your job and a man dies, you shall no longer have your job. Ever.

But the laws of some unions operate thusly: You can pretty much stab your boss in the throat with scissors and as God as my witness, you will get your job back with back-pay and a public apology and city-paid therapy to deal with your anger issues.

I’m exaggerating, but a man died. DIED. And the paramedic is back on the job. And my brain is thinking about exploding.

The unions are here to protect their members, but who is going to protect us from what some of the unions have become? They’re not making themselves stronger by being the bullies they are; they are actually weakening themselves and other unions because enough of this type of behavior is what is going to make citizens and politicians become fed up enough to say, “We have had it with you.”

This type of precedent is going to create dangerous unaccountability that will make union members even more complacent that nothing they do short of murdering their boss in cold blood will ever warrant the PERMANENT loss of a job. Every threat of “You’ll be fired,” will be met with “LOL. I’d like to see you try, asswipe.” They might get to take a year off, but no worries, they’ll be reinstated and swimming in back-pay before you can say, “This ain’t no fucking cab service.”

Kablooey.





153 Comments


  1. Rob
    February 15, 2011 6:12 pm

    The City claims it doesn’t know how many calls were pending when these incidents happened. The Computer-Aided Dispatching logs from the EOC should enable them to reconstruct that information. Time call is received, time the ambulance is dispatched, time the ambulance arrives, time the ambulance is en-route to the hospital, time of arrival at the hospital and time clear of the hospital are all recorded. Along with the call logs, it should be possible to reconstruct the information.

    After the FAPP strike (anyone remember that? Proof positive FAPP was ineffectual), the City shut down Medic 13, claiming that they would check on response times to make sure they did not change after Medic 13 was eliminated. A year later, I asked the person who was in charge of those numbers to show me the numbers. He claimed they didn’t have any and had no way of calculating it. Somewhere, someone lied to the people of Shadyside. Coincidentally, the mayor at the time had a problem with the Shadyside action group as well as the medics. Could the Mayor have taken Medic 13 out of service in Shadyside to punish the medics and the people of Shadyside?

    Similar things happened when Medics 9, 10 and 11 were switched from odd schedules to the 7-3 and 3-11 that everyone else was on. Once again, the City promised to collect data to see if response times were affected, but when asked, they claimed the data could not be recovered.

    There’s clearly a pattern of making the numbers disappear when the City finds it inconvenient.



  2. MH
    February 15, 2011 6:13 pm

    @ Rob: Which means somebody sick couldn’t be expected to walk it even more than the EMT. There is no set of circumstances in which it makes sense to sit there for a half an hour and yell at somebody sick. They didn’t leave to go on another call. They sat in the truck because driving in snow and walking through snow are all huge pains in the ass and sitting in the parked truck could be blamed on somebody else.

    EMTs get paid too much to keep their jobs if they can’t solve a problem and think for themselves.



  3. A.R.
    February 15, 2011 6:21 pm

    CMA-

    Where is this link to Pittsburgh Business Times saying paramedics are making 6-figure salaries. It has to be administrators making that much, I know a bunch of paramedics that make NOWHERE near 6-figures. Unless it’s a 20-year flight nurse which is a different story. Please. EMTs are underpaid like all of us direct caretakers in the healthcare field.



  4. Carpetbagger
    February 15, 2011 6:22 pm

    Rob, stop already. Enough with all the real EMT perspective. You are a totally buzz killing the righteous indignation!



  5. MH
    February 15, 2011 6:22 pm

    There’s clearly a pattern of making the numbers disappear when the City finds it inconvenient.

    The union is right when it points out the city’s errors and the city is right when it points out the union’s errors. The problem is that each thinks pointing out the errors of the other is the same as proving themselves right.



  6. Rob
    February 15, 2011 6:41 pm

    As I sit here and write this, I thought of one thing:

    When my crew was sexually harassed, I spoke with the supervisors–who did nothing. I kept going up the chain of command until I wound up at OPR. Because I had gone through the chain of command, there was documentation. In the court case, no one even tried to say “Rob never told me about this.” They couldn’t.

    When something goes wrong and you have to do something strange that violates protocols, a Crew Chief is supposed to bump it up the chain of command. That’s what the chain is there for.

    Why did Crew Chief Dimon demand a snow plow? She should have asked the EOC for one and, when denied, asked the Supervisor and, when denied keep asking up to and including the Medical Director and the head of Pittsburgh EMS.

    At some point, she would have been ordered to abandon the call and would have either been threatened with being fired or at least had the blame dumped in someone else’s lap–and on tape.

    A Crew Chief should know to do that because, if you don’t–well, that’s the sort of thing people get fired for.

    Did she?



  7. Rob
    February 15, 2011 6:47 pm

    @A.R.–

    Paramedics are underpaid for the danger they put themselves into–and even for the risk of putting themselves in Dimon’s situation.

    That said, if you’re a senior paramedic or paramedic Crew Chief, and if you get 1.5x for overtime–or even more for overtime on holidays–and all you do is work and sleep (and some of that sleep is at work), you can make scads of money.



  8. Rob
    February 15, 2011 6:49 pm

    @MH: I’d love to hear what dispatch was told by the person who called 911. If someone is rated as the lowest priority, if they have legs that work, they should be able to walk to the truck. If you can’t walk because of the illness, then you shouldn’t be rated the lowest priority.



  9. Rob
    February 15, 2011 6:53 pm

    @Carpetbagger: Thanks. I needed that.



  10. CMA
    February 15, 2011 6:59 pm

    A.R.
    2 crew chiefs and 2 paramedics in the top 10 – no link, it’s in their Book of Lists and you have to pay to get it online…again, not saying they aren’t hugely valuable and most of them do incredible work. Tough for me buy into defending this one, though. Read Ginny’s intro…”…I will serve unselfishly and continuously…”



  11. MH
    February 15, 2011 7:05 pm

    A Crew Chief should know to do that because, if you don’t–well, that’s the sort of thing people get fired for.

    @MH: I’d love to hear what dispatch was told by the person who called 911.

    We’d need some kind of neutral official to figure out things like that. Too bad it takes a full year to get to the point where you can even appeal to one.



  12. Kathy
    February 15, 2011 7:08 pm

    MH at 105 – Bravo! That’s it in a nutshell.



  13. Dave
    February 15, 2011 7:25 pm

    EMTs get paid too much to keep their jobs if they can’t solve a problem and think for themselves. – MH

    @MH- There are a large number of us that would love to be able to solve the problem, but instead are handcuffed by agency policies and state regulations.

    I ask you this though, had the story come out that an EMS crew disregarded dispatch direction and had been brought up on charges of insubordination, would you leap to defend them? What if they disregarded the order and in the process became seriously injured? Would you jump to demand that they be rightfully compensated for the loss of income considering the risk they took was insubordinate?

    Somehow, I doubt it.

    @Rob I honestly do not know the chain of command for EMS crews in Pittsburgh, so I will defer to your local system knowledge.

    I’m also not entirely sure how a crew chief on an ambulance and a dispatcher are of equal rank, but once again I will defer to your local system knowledge.

    I do however want to make the point that Josie Dimon was on Medic 8, that according to the final report from Dr. Ron Roth (available in full here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/26960692/Medical-Call-Review-for-5161-Chaplain-Way), was the second unit dispatched to the scene after the call was held by the District Chief due to call volume. The document also points out that after the third unit had responded and was canceled, there was a physician contact made. Therefore, since Josie Dimon was the only provider terminated, it appears that she was indeed made a scapegoat for a system failure.

    While none of that changes the fact of the events that occurred, it can help determine what should occur in the future.



  14. Rob
    February 15, 2011 7:28 pm

    A NASA astronaut explains what we should really be doing if we never want this to happen again.



  15. Sooska
    February 15, 2011 7:41 pm

    But she was “only following orders” according to the EMT union. Where have I heard THAT before?



  16. MH
    February 15, 2011 7:50 pm

    I ask you this though, had the story come out that an EMS crew disregarded dispatch direction and had been brought up on charges of insubordination, would you leap to defend them?

    Who says it would require insubordination? Just asking intelligent questions could have solved this. For example, instead of saying, “Is he on his way, because we are not going to wait here all day for him” she could have asked some kind of question about his symptoms. The EMT was talking to dispatch and dispatch was talking to the patient, yet nothing shows a clear, medical-type question asked by the EMT.



  17. cmd_45
    February 15, 2011 7:51 pm

    Sorry, but how hard is it to get off your lazy ass and walk a couple of blocks to help a man who has called EMS that many times? No, thanks, and I wouldn’t want to be sitting in a rig with you, either.



  18. Rob
    February 15, 2011 8:09 pm

    @cmd_45: in normal weather, not long at all. It wasn’t normal. With that depth of snow–unplowed with a strtcher (no sled available–EMS didn’t supply the units with them) it would have taken over a half hour to cover the distance. Higher priority calls went without an ambulance while this was going on. In past snow emergencies, the City had plows escort vehicles. Why not this time? How many mass cas incidents have you worked?



  19. Rob
    February 15, 2011 8:20 pm

    @Dave: A paramedic Crew Chief–I believe on workman’s comp–was the person Dimon spoke to at the EOC. Not sure which one got promoted first, but in general, the person in the EOC would have a better understanding of the tactical situation and, if you’re calling her and not the District Supervisor, I’d expect her to be the higher among equals. Still be better to speak with 502 or 503–inside and outside District Spervisors. Or is 503 the inside Sup–I forget. Stupid concussion. I still have trouble with names and identifiers after a drunk kicked me out of the back of the ambulance and I got a concussion.



  20. Dave
    February 15, 2011 8:43 pm

    Who says it would require insubordination? Just asking intelligent questions could have solved this. -MH

    @MH– It would require insubordination because the dispatcher told them to cancel the call. My understanding is that intelligent questions were asked by the call receiver, in accordance with national Emergency Medical Disptach protocol. The call was rated a low priority and as noted by the physician report it was rated appropriately.

    Therefore, had the crew continued on the call instead of canceling from the assignment that would have been insubordination.

    Your solution to the problem, while admittedly simple, does not actually solve the problem. I can offer similar solutions, such as perhaps plowing the roads, keeping the power lines out of the street, or outfitting the ambulances with four wheel drive but none of those solutions actually solve the problem of an unsupported EMS crew unable to get to a patient.

    Or do they?



  21. Dave
    February 15, 2011 8:55 pm

    @Rob thanks for the clarification on the command structure. While I agree the person inside the EOC is better equipped to see the “big picture” situation (ie calls holding, reports of impassable roads, deployment of resources, etc.) I’m still a big believer that the onscene medic has the better view of the actual call situation and the information they feed back to their command and control center should allow for informed decision making in the best interest of the patient and the system as a whole.

    While I personally view protocol and policy more as a situational and treatment guideline, I can understand the adherence by those who follow it regardless due to the potential ramifications for breaking it, even when it may be in the best interest of the patient.

    Afterall, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.



  22. MH
    February 15, 2011 9:32 pm

    120: They were told to cancel it after a half hour of pointless bitching and phone tag.

    I can offer similar solutions, such as perhaps plowing the roads, keeping the power lines out of the street, or outfitting the ambulances with four wheel drive but none of those solutions actually solve the problem of an unsupported EMS crew unable to get to a patient.

    My road, which isn’t far from Hazelwood, wasn’t plowed for a week after that storm. Saying you can’t do something until the road is plowed means, locally, the same thing as saying “the check is in the mail.” Even the arbitrator’s report doesn’t mention the EMT taking any steps to ask for a plow there.

    Pittsburgh is worse than broke plus the city is governed by idiots, tools, jackasses, and somebody who willing called himself “Steelerstahl.” Saying those things have to be fixed before you can do your job is like complaining all the O2 in the air makes it hard to put out a fire.

    The fact remains that the whole city faced the same circumstances and none of the other crews did so poorly. Dozens of other localities were under the same conditions, many using the same dispatch, and none of them had anything close to this.



  23. MH
    February 15, 2011 9:36 pm

    If the union is going to say Dimon was a scapegoat, and they have actual evidence*, that’s a whole ‘nuther game.

    *Evidence of direct neglect or other culpability. Everyone already knows the mayor isn’t very, umm, detail oriented.



  24. BeauJacques
    February 15, 2011 10:59 pm

    Hey!! He’s entered rehab!!

    uhhh, maybe called for after the 1st time?

    Not to worry, the union’s got him covered, pension is fat & safe!!

    City fire lieutenant faces third drunken driving charge
    Tuesday, February 15, 2011
    By Sadie Gurman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    A city fire lieutenant who was suspended after a two drunken driving arrests in the last year was charged again with same offense this weekend and has entered an in-patient rehabilitation program.

    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11046/1125603-100.stm?cmpid=latest.xml#ixzz1E5RlZskg



  25. BeauJacques
    February 15, 2011 11:03 pm

    Assault charges against officer, wife withdrawn
    Tuesday, February 15, 2011
    By Sadie Gurman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Prosecutors today withdrew charges against a Pittsburgh police detective and his wife who were arrested Feb. 6 after an argument at their Lincoln Place home turned physical.

    These are just TODAY’S stories!!!

    No pension worries, integrity questions here!

    Just doin’ a little more sweeping under the rug!!!

    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11046/1125604-100.stm?cmpid=latest.xml#ixzz1E5Sp7Wuo



  26. BeauJacques
    February 15, 2011 11:06 pm

    And you want to hold Steelers to conduct standards????????

    Ben was never even charged with anything!!

    WE are PAYING THESE ASSHOLES!!!!! FOR LIFE!!!!

    AND THEIR LAWSUITS!!!!



  27. BeauJacques
    February 15, 2011 11:15 pm

    The worst fuck-up I knew in college couldn’t BEGIN to orchestrate this systemic travesty we are paying for; and it WILL be the ruin of us!

    Give it about 2-6 years and watch the Municipal Bonds start defaulting, you heard it here!!!



  28. BeauJacques
    February 15, 2011 11:19 pm

    @Lukey AKA boy-Mayor:

    WHERE THE FUCK IS OUR $12 MILLION ?????



  29. BeauJacques
    February 15, 2011 11:30 pm

    #68 – Mike Says:
    February 15th, 2011 at 2:52 pm
    We got Council elections coming up… are we using this momentum to find/elect better representation or does it stop here?

    No Mike, sadly anybody who even comments to neighbors, co-workers, etc. passes this stuff as “business-as-usual” and gets to the weather, or the Penguins!

    And when folks conscience hits the pavement- as in: “Of course you teach your kids the meaning of truth, honor, & reponsibility,” when you get into that voting booth, IF you make it to the voting booth, you vote your self-interest, period, and hope for others to “make it right,” or sort it out later!!

    Well folks! It’s now later!

    said the 450 AD Roman to the 2020 AD Burgher to the 2011 city-Detroiter!



  30. BeauJacques
    February 15, 2011 11:37 pm

    PS- That municipal bond thing? That’s everywhere!



  31. gunnlino
    February 15, 2011 11:43 pm

    @ ROB; Is getting kicked in the head an excuse to cry the blues. You knew the dangers of the job when you took it. So after the fact you use it as an excuse. Lets play one-up I and several other got hurt badly in a big dust up in the LA Valley area several years ago. I don’t know of anyone injured in that incident who complained or used it as an excuse.
    Quit wining and do your job !



  32. gunnlino
    February 15, 2011 11:51 pm

    @ ROB you’ve got to stop drinking the Kool-Aid.



  33. BeauJacques
    February 16, 2011 2:48 am

    North Side weapons case thrown out
    The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday tossed out a case against a North Side man who allegedly was caught with several stolen, high-powered guns because the police officer who arrested him is the subject of a criminal investigation.

    Bryant Boyd Jr. no longer faces charges of carrying a firearm without a license, being a felon in possession of a firearm and receiving stolen property because retired Pittsburgh police Officer Kenneth Simon is not a reliable witness, said Mike Manko, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.

    Read more: North Side weapons case thrown out – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_723044.html#ixzz1E6Nc0bDl



  34. BeauJacques
    February 16, 2011 2:52 am

    Teen’s suit against Pittsburgh officers going to trial

    By Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    A federal lawsuit filed against the city by a Homewood teenager who claims Pittsburgh police officers beat him during an encounter will head to trial, the teen’s attorney said Tuesday.

    Attorneys for Jordan Miles, 19, met with city lawyers last week for required mediation, but it became clear the case would not be resolved, said attorney J. Kerrington Lewis. “We have two completely different views of what happened, and it’s been obvious from the beginning that this would not be solved through mediation,” Lewis said.

    City Solicitor Dan Regan declined comment.

    Read more: Teen’s suit against Pittsburgh officers going to trial – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_723074.html#ixzz1E6OmpLVt



  35. BeauJacques
    February 16, 2011 2:57 am

    Wisconsin poised to end collective bargaining

    By Associated Press
    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin is poised to strip collective bargaining rights from most of the state’s 175,000 public employees in the boldest step by a new Republican governor and Legislature to solve budget problems by confronting organized labor…….

    The state has long been a stronghold of organized labor. But the election of Walker, an outspoken conservative, in November and the GOP’s seizing of control of both legislative chambers set the stage for a dramatic reversal……….

    Walker’s plan would make workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care premiums. State employees’ costs would increase by an average of 8 percent. The changes would save the state $30 million by June 30 and $300 million over the next two years.

    Read more: Wisconsin poised to end collective bargaining – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_723103.html#ixzz1E6PnV5Rq



  36. Butcher's Dog
    February 16, 2011 9:08 am

    OK, here’s my take on this. And, yes, I’m a retired PA teacher on one of those “bloated” pensions some are complaining of.

    Folks, we all would have these benefits if the Captains of Industry hadn’t bitch-slapped the unions back 40 or 50 years ago by pulling up stakes and moving the plants south. Whenever unions got a little “uppity” and wanted, you know, liveable wages and conditions and dignified retirement, they shipped the whole operation somewhere else. And got away with it. And now they’re shipping them overseas, effectively bitch-slapping the Southereners as well.

    Side note: we didn’t really outlaw slavery in this country with the Civil War. We just shipped it overseas and continue to prosper from it daily.

    Back in “the day” the highest-paid person in an industry was said to make around 40 times what the lowest paid person made. Today that number is variously quoted as either 4,000 or 40,000 times. That’s frankly obscene. And for this wealth they continue to ship jobs overseas.

    Which brings us to public unions. Why are they putting “outspoken conservatives” panties in a bunch? Because you can’t outsource the public sector functions! Go ahead and send your police force to Mexico. Ship the fire and EMT folks to India. Move the school teachers offshore. Can’t do that? Gee…better rile up the masses, most of whom have forgotten that they, too, could have had those benefits if the plants, etc., had stayed.

    No one with any sense of right and wrong condones incompetence and sloth on the job. There are procedures in place to remove workers in those public jobs who don’t measure up. If the arbitrator system is failing the entire system, let’s get something that works and use it.

    OK. I’m done. Fire at will.



  37. mike
    February 16, 2011 11:07 am

    Rob — Thanks for your insights into this. When I first read the article, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could offer a defense of the situation, but you made some interesting points that forced me to rethink some things. Thanks for taking the time to offer a different perspective.



  38. Rob
    February 16, 2011 11:27 am

    One last comment.

    1. First Responders, EMTs and Paramedics are all taught to ask “Is the scene safe?” If the scene is not safe, you do not go in. It is pounded in from the first day of class, in Basic Trauma Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Fundamentals of Fire Fighting, all the rescue modules, HazMat training, etc.: Do not enter a scene that is not safe. We were even taught that in Pediatric Advanced Life Support. Now, the definition of “safe” is…interesting, but the basic is still fundamental to the prehospital system. If a responder is injured or killed, it takes away system resources that could be better used saving people. The first question I was asked in the promotional interview for Crew Chief for Pittsburgh EMS was essentially “What do you do if the scene isn’t safe?” The correct answer was: Let dispatch and District Supervisors know the scene isn’t safe and that you, your crew and ambulance are waiting where it is safe until it is safe.

    So a valid question for Dimon would be “Is the scene safe? Did you let Dispatch and the District Supervisor know that it was not safe?” Then we get into the question about whether it really was safe or not…

    I wasn’t there. I don’t know. What did she say? Did she even consider it?

    2. The answer to the second question I was asked in the Crew Chief promotion interview was, essentially “Notify up the chain of command. That was also the answer to nearly every other question I was asked that day. One of them may have been “Ask for the Medical Director,” which is essentially the same thing on the medical end of things. Now, I was promoted in the early ’90s–got a nice picture with me and Sophie…no memory of the mayor’s last name. But I can’t imagine things having changed that much.

    @Dave: Yes, I’m well aware of the problems (and advantages) of Chain of Command. If one is creative, one can find ways to deal with the problems. If one isn’t creative, we really want you to stick to the chain of command.

    But the major thing in this case is, in this situation, the Chain of Command would serve as protection for the Crew Chief involved.

    @gunnlino: How about commenting on the actual content rather than whining about how you were hurt once and about an off-hand comment I made?



  39. BeauJacques
    February 16, 2011 11:54 am

    @ButcherDog-

    The pendulum has swung too far! Needs to swing back!

    We don’t NEED $100K bus drivers!! Get it??

    Wisconsin is just the opening salvo!!



  40. Rob
    February 16, 2011 12:28 pm

    @mike: Thank you. The prehospital environment is different from what the general public is used to. There are questions the public doesn’t even know to ask. Having people who know nothing about the job Monday-morning quarterback is painful to watch.

    But I’d also point out that I’m not as certain that Dimon was right.

    Throughout my prehospital career, my major concern was that we might dismiss someone who didn’t appear sick who really was.

    Dispatch has a wonderful system for asking questions when people call in. But it is fallible. Even the best-trained paramedic does not have the knowledge of a doctor. Even a doctor wouldn’t have CT and bloodwork and everything in the field.

    I took the attitude of “You call, we haul.” We were abused, and I decided I didn’t care. If you called, I’d do everything I could to get you to the hospital. If you take everyone, you don’t miss anything. It’s the hospital’s problem now.

    I wasn’t at the Mitchell scene. I don’t know how much snow there was. I don’t know about the condition of the bridge. I don’t know what medics were told about plows. I don’t know what the 911 caller told Dispatch, what the Crew Chief was told by Dispatch, what she was told by the Crew Chief at Dispatch, by the doctor at Dispatch, or by the District Supervisor(s). I don’t know if there was a chest pain or difficulty breathing or some other life-threatening emergency waiting for an ambulance–or 10 such calls.

    I can list 10 more things that might have made abandoning this call sound like a responsible idea.

    I do know I hated situations like Dimon found herself in when I was a Crew Chief. I do know that decisions made by the Crew Chief in that situation is incredibly difficult to explain to those who don’t understand the complexities of a disaster response and the prehospital environment and only copy the EMT oath out of a book without understanding what it means on a practical level.



  41. RedInDaBurgh
    February 16, 2011 12:37 pm

    Before I start ranting let me relate a story that happened to me last month.

    During the ice storm that passed thru Pgh on Martin Luther King Day I required an EMS call and ambulance transport to a hospital. It was after midnight that night and the roads were covered in ice. I had passed out several times while trying to stand or sit up. After 2 days in the hospital and several cardiac and neurological tests it was determined that I had severe dehydration and a resulting drop in blood pressure brought about by a stomach virus, nothing permanent. However, at the time it was happening I had no idea what was going and was quite concerned, to say the least, as were my roommates, who had called 911. I was lying on the hallway floor, a very narrow and cramped space to receive medical attention, when the paramedics arrived. They never complained about having to work there. We have very narrow and steep front steps, so they could not get me into the ambulance via the front of the house, and they did want me walking or sitting upright. They had to take me out through the rear door, down the snow and ice covered yard, which is also steep, particularly when moving someone on a gurney. Then down our driveway onto the street and into the ambulance. The roads and our driveway would have been a sheet of ice as neither road crews nor anyone in our house had cleared or salted them yet. But they were passable because one of the paramedics had salted the path with rock salt they had brought in the ambulance, knowing the weather conditions. During the ambulance trip, I was apologizing for the cramped conditions in the house and the trouble in getting me out. One of the paramedics laughed and told me it was no problem at all. He explained that he is also an army medic and served 2 tours in Iraq, and that the conditions that night were nothing compared to what he experienced over there. I’m very thankful I had those paramedics to treat me that night and not Ms. Dimond. They did not know what was wrong with me at the time, but they took their duty seriously, and they bothered to show up to assess my condition first hand.

    Last part of that story. I was in the ER at Forbes and, of course, due to insurance purposes as soon as I was no longer an emergency case I had to be transferred to a UPMC facility. How did I get there? Via another ambulance. And what did the paramedics from that ambulance quip when they arrived to transport me? “Your taxi awaits, sir.” So, to counter Ms. Dimond’s comment: sometimes you are a taxi service.

    Now @Rob:

    Holy passing the buck! When you are in a job that requires an oath to be sworn, much is expected of you. A dedication that is not expected of someone working at McDonald’s or a convenience store. I know that there are many union workers who perform their job dilligently, I have witnessed it. However, many of us wonder incredulously at the pervasive attitude of many union workers that screams “No one who has ever served in our union has ever been derelict or negligent in his/her duty. It is the system, or management, or corporate or governmental entity we work for that failed. There is no culpability with this tireless, hardworking, soon-to-be sainted union worker, who walks uphill, in the snow, both ways to get to and from work every day!” (snow comment intentional!) Just once I’d like to hear a union leader or fellow union worker say: “Yeah, this dude/lady sucks. They need to be fired, because they can’t do this job for shit.” Solidarity is admirable when starting a union in the early 20th century, or in CBA negotiations with your employer. Not when trying to fire an incompetent or underperforming employee.

    Paramedics, law enforcement, and firefighters hold a civic responsibility. As do elected and appointed officials. RESPONSIBILITY. Do you know what that means? I believe that workers in the call center, medical advisors at the call center, and other public officials should have been fired as well. However, that does not excuse Ms. Dimond from failure to do her job and uphold her oath.

    Rob, as a means of defending Ms. Dimond you mentioned that you left a child with a gunshot wound after triaging him to attend to other victims. Do you know what you did that she never bothered to do for that man that snowy night last winter? You personally evaluated and assessed that child before deciding to move on to other people. Ms. Dimond did not.

    The call indicated that the man had chest pains, and Ms.Dimond wanted him to walk to the ambulance. If a man with chest pains could make the walk through snow, so can a healthy paramedic. Rather than spend 30 minutes arguing and asking him to walk to the ambulance, she could have walked to him and evaluated his condition firsthand. I’ve no doubt what the paramedic who responded to my call would have done that night last winter. He would have thrown a pack over his shoulder and trudged thru the snow to get to that man and assess his condition. After all, what’s a snowy night in Hazelwood after 2 tours in Iraq?



  42. MH
    February 16, 2011 12:46 pm

    140: Given the clear advocacy of the arbitrator’s report, if there were a good reason, I’m fairly certain it would have been mentioned.



  43. empirechick
    February 16, 2011 12:55 pm

    RedInDaBurgh –

    The call never indicated the man had chest pains. He said he had stomach pain.



  44. RedInDaBurgh
    February 16, 2011 12:59 pm

    @ empirechick

    I stand corrected then.

    Still don’t think it’s reasonable for a healthy emergency responder to expect someone experiencing stomach pains to walk thru snow.



  45. empirechick
    February 16, 2011 1:14 pm

    From what I’ve read, Dimon and her partner did walk through the snow to get to other patients that day. The difference here, I think, is that Mr. Mitchell was never rated as a high priority call, based on his description of his symptoms.

    Your situation sounds very different – passing out and shortness of breath would indeed be scary, and I’m willing to bet whoever called 911 for you relayed the severity of your case. It just doesn’t sound like Mr. Mitchell or his girlfriend ever did that.

    There’s plenty of blame to go around here, but I don’t think it all belongs to Dimon. Hers wasn’t the only crew that didn’t walk in to Mr. Mitchell, but she’s the only one caught on tape swearing. That makes finding a scapegoat pretty easy, in my opinion.



  46. RedInDaBurgh
    February 16, 2011 3:21 pm

    For certain other people involved were derelict in their duty. However, other people being irresponsible does not excuse her irresponsibility. What is more egregious is that her irresponsibility and incompetence in her job is recorded in her own words. A paramedic who behaves in such a manner simply should not be a paramedic. And an emergency responder should be at his/her best in an emergency, not worst. Anyone can be nice and feign competence under ideal conditions. Character is revealed in how one acts in adverse conditions, and her character was revealed to be greatly flawed. And her flaws are unacceptable in her profession, given that it almost always requires performing in adverse situations.



  47. Heather
    February 16, 2011 4:34 pm

    @Red – Amen!

    Let’s face it – the medical field is one profession where we expect perfection. If a doctor makes a mistake, someone could die. It’s a tough job, no doubt. But YOU KNOW THAT GOING IN! She chose this job, so she needed to do it – ALL of it.

    If her recordings had said ‘I am so sorry, I feel awful, I don’t see how we can get to him, I wish there was something more we could do’ then this would be a different story. Her recordings clearly – CLEARLY – show that SHE DID NOT CARE. Fuck him, fuck the snow, I’m not doing it. It’s a lot harder to feel compassion for someone who very obviously lacked compassion herself. Fact.

    @Rob – You asked if we’d be defending someone who went against orders to help someone…um…yeah, probably. You said that a paramedic is to avoid danger. And I get that. But for those who ran into the twin towers, do we call them defiant or do we call them heroic? If an EMT went against orders to save a life and got in trouble, I for one would definitely be defending them. The JOB is to SAVE LIVES. Josie sucks at it.



  48. EMTintheCity
    February 16, 2011 7:39 pm

    Here’s a great blog about a paramedic in Providence, Rhode Island. He regularly tackles the issue of ABUSE of the EMS system:

    http://rescuingprovidence.com/



  49. YouKnowMe
    February 18, 2011 11:11 am

    I think RedinthBurgh is full of it… Always have.



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